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Image description

The image shows an insect in the mite subclass, known for its blood feeding mode, called the tick, viewed from above.

The body is flattened, round in shape, of very small size, covered by a strong shield, divided into two sections, with four pairs of lateral legs and a mouth cavity with small claws.

The eight limbs are rendered by thick, long and arched lines, the upper part of the body is represented in full relief, and the lower part is highlighted by a wavy texture.

Additional information

The ticks are creatures of the size of a sesame-seed that feed on blood and for this reason they are called parasites [bibliography 1]. Of a total of 896 species, 27 tick species were identified in Romania, Ixodes ricinus being the most common species. The ticks have a typical mite body, dorsoventrally flattened, which has been adapted to the ectoparasitic life. Unlike insects, ticks do not have head, antennae, thorax or abdomen [bibliography 2, 3].Ticks are the largest mites, ranging in length from about 2- 30 millimeters, depending on the species and life stage. 

Sexual dimorphism is well developed in strong ticks, with males being usually smaller than females [bibliography 4].

The ticks have long been studied and it has been observed that their number can be controlled naturally: some species of wasp lay their eggs inside them and after hatching it kills their host [bibliography 5]

A study from the Netherlands found that the number of ticks is much reduced in regions populated with red foxes and stone martens[bibliography 6].  At the same time, it has been observed that the guineafowl can consume huge quantities of ticks, only two birds can clean a land of approximately 8000 m² during a year [bibliography 7].

In Romania, the animals that house the most common ticks are sheep, followed by cattle and goats. In our country, the diseases spread by them began to be documented only from the 19th century – the most known of them being Lyme, a potentially life-threatening condition.

According to a study in the Czech Republic, people with type A blood would have a higher risk of being bitten by a tick, among these spider mites may be those that can cause Lyme disease. It has been estimated that 17% of ticks are infected with a bacteria – Borrelia – which can cause Lyme disease, a condition characterized by fever, headaches and a circular rash around the bite [bibliography 8]. Contact with ticks can be limited avoiding high-grass areas and a lot of leaf litter, using socks or long pants.

Bibliography

  1. Dumitrache Mirabela Oana. Research on the ecobiology and epidemiology of the attack  of ixodidae tick – vectors of Lyme disease in Romania. Summary of the doctoral thesis. Cluj-Napoca 2012
  2. Vincent H. Resh, Ring T. Cardé. Encyclopedia of Insects. 2003
  3. Daniel E. Sonenshine. Biology of ticks – Volume 1. 1991
  4. John L. Capinera. Encyclopedia of Entomology. (4 Volume Set). Second Edition. Springer 2008
  5. Tijsse-Klasen, Ellen; et al. (2011). “Parasites of vectors – Ixodiphagus hookeri and its Wolbachia symbionts in ticks in the Netherlands”. Parasites & Vectors. 4: 228. doi:10.1186/1756-3305-4-228. PMC 3248373. PMID 22152674.
  6. Hofmeester, T. R.; Jansen, P. A.; Wijnen, H. J.; Copian, E. C.; Fonville, M.; Prins, H. H. T.; Sprong, H.; van Wieren, S. E. (2017). “Cascading effects of predator activity on tick-borne disease risk”. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 284 (1859): 20170453. doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.0453. PMC 5543215. PMID 28724731.
  7. David Cameron Duffy, The effectiveness of Helmeted Guineafowl in the control of the deer tick, the vector of Lyme disease, Wilson Bull., 104(2), 1992, pp. 342-345
  8. Ziare.com, available online at http://www.ziare.com/viata-sanatoasa/boli/capusele-nu-musca-pe-oricine-cercetatorii-au-discoverit-care-group-de-sange-le-plac -More-1521788, accessed October 8, 2019